Civil society against ECG concession

xxxxxA Coalition of civil society organisations kicking against the concession of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has alleged that the privatisation process is riddled with fraud and forgery, casting doubts over the transparency in the deal.

According to the coalition, the forgery was evident in documents it had sighted, prepared by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), the implementation agency of the partial privatisation, in the name of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the Energy Commission (EC).

A leading member of the coalition, Mr. Richard Asante-Yeboah, at a public forum to discuss the pros and cons of the deal in Accra yesterday, said the MiDA had been guilty of forgery on two occasions.

He cited the Draft Tariff Methodology document of the PURC and a statement in the name of the Energy Commission to which the PURC and the EC have both issued disclaimers.

“The development, makes it difficult for fair-minded people, especially staff of the ECG, to believe the concession,” he stated.

Mr. Asante-Yeboah also revealed that the proposals of the ECG workers, when the MiDA called for requests for proposal, were all shirked.

That, he said, meant that the views of the workers had been relegated, underscoring their fears that their jobs were not safe after the first five years of the deal.

Contrary to assurances that assets of the ECG will not be sold, Mr. Yeboah asserted that “all assets, apart from the headquarters and training school, are up for sale”.

But in a sharp rebuttal, the Head of Reforms Unit at MiDA, Mr. Michael Awuah, who represented the authority at the forum, said the claims were untrue.

Mr. Awuah however would not make a point further against the allegations because he said the accusations were before a competent court of jurisdiction.

He, however, refuted claims that the concession was not in the interest of the state, stressing that it was to enhance efficiency in the energy distribution sector.

Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Workers’ Union (PUWU) has reiterated its objection to the deal which would last for 25 years.

The General Secretary of the PUWU, Mr. Michael Adumata Nyantakyi, said “the regulations guiding the deal subjudicates the laws of the country.

He said government failed to explore other forms of investment avenues just to settle on concession as a result of condition precedent.

Mr. Nyantakyi said the deal would lead to high tariff regime, and mass layoffs of workers, and was skeptical that it would benefit the larger society.

In his view, the government was obsessed with financial investment which the private players were ready to inject into the sector, forgetting their technical capabilities.

Other groups which kicked against the deal include the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) and the AGI.

By Julius Yao Petetsi           




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